FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Kennedy Hambrick and Maggie O’Hara have qualified to compete as individuals at the NCAA National Championships in Fort Worth, Texas April 16-17. Hambrick will compete as an all-around competitor and O’Hara will compete on the uneven bars.
Hambrick becomes the sixth Razorback to advance to the national championships as an all-around participant, joining Arkansas greats Dana McQuillin, Casey Jo Magee, Katherine Grable, Amanda Wellick and Jessica Yamzon. She is one of four gymnasts competing individually in the all-around, along with Denver’s Lynnzee Brown, UCLA’s Chae Campbell and Arizona State’s Hannah Scharf.
Hambrick qualified for nationals with an impressive 39.550 in round two of the Tuscaloosa Regional. At nationals, she will rotate with Oklahoma in Session II, starting at 5 p.m. and beginning her evening on bars, rotating in Olympic order.
The junior out of Pearland, Texas was an all-star for the Gymbacks this year, claiming 18 event titles, four in the all-around. Hambrick holds two of the top three all-around scores in Arkansas history, finishing with a 39.700 at Auburn on March 5 and a program-best 39.750 at home against Missouri on Feb. 19.
O’Hara will accompany Hambrick to regionals after qualifying on bars after scoring a solid 9.925 on Friday afternoon in Tuscaloosa. O’Hara’s routine was one of her best this season, earning a perfect 10 from one judge. Headed into nationals, seven of her 11 routines this year earned a score of 9.900 or better, she leads the team with a season-high of 9.950 on bars and an NQS of 9.925 that led her to finish ranked 11th in the country in the event.
The Lexington, S.C. native is the third Gymback and the first since 2010 to qualify as an event specialist on bars, writing her name in the record book alongside Michelle Stout and Magee. She joins Cairo Leonard-Baker of Arizona State, Margzetta Frazier of UCLA and Hannah Demers of Central Michigan as the four individual event qualifiers. She will compete in Session I at nationals, starting at noon and make her appearance on bars after Minnesota’s lineup in rotation two.
The two WCGA regular-season All-Americans recently led Arkansas to the Sweet 16 at NCAA Regionals, advancing through day one with a program-record regional score of 197.250. It marked the fifth time this season the Gymbacks eclipsed the 197.000 mark.
Individual national champions are determined on the first day of the NCAA Championships with the highest individual score, including ties, earning national championships in each respective event. Prior to 2014, finishers 1-4, including ties, from each session would advance to the individual finals on day two of the championships.
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